Both parties to a dispute have a right to appeal to a Tenancy Tribunal if either is unhappy with the outcome of a mediation or adjudication agreement.
What is the process?
The appeal hearing will be conducted by a Tenancy Tribunal. It will either be a One Person Tribunal or a Three Person Tribunal. In the case of a Three Person Tribunal, one shall be in charge and will chair the proceedings. In the case of a One Person Tribunal, that person will chair the proceedings. The Tribunal Members, who are members of the Dispute Resolution Committee, will hear the dispute and make a decision based on the evidence before it.
A Tribunal involves a full re-hearing of the dispute unless the parties agree to limit it to certain issues. Even though the case may have been through mediation or an adjudicator has heard the case, both parties will be given the opportunity to present the full case again. Parties should endeavour to reach agreement on uncontroversial issues of facts before the hearing. Parties should also try to reach a wider agreement so as to limit the issues for decision by the Tribunal. The Tribunal will make a decision based on the information presented on the day.
Tribunal hearings are not formal. You may, if you like, have someone speak on your behalf but it is not necessary. At the start the chairperson will explain how the Tribunal will run and will answer any questions on the procedures. You may bring a relative, friend or colleague, as well as a solicitor or other professional, to the hearing.
Who decides the appeal?
The appeal will be assigned to three Tribunal Members appointed by the RTB, one of which will act as the Chairperson of the Tribunal. The Tribunal Members, who are members of the Dispute Resolution Committee, will hear the dispute and make a decision based on the evidence before it.
Is legal representation needed?
The RTB now replaces the Courts in a majority of cases in relation to landlord and tenant disputes. The RTB was set up to deal with disputes on an informal basis and is intended to minimise expense in the resolution of landlord and tenant disputes. Therefore legal representation, should not be necessary but parties are free to arrange for representation.
If a party intends to have legal representation at a Tribunal hearing before the RTB, notification of this should be given to the RTB within 7 days of the notification of the hearing date. Costs of legal or other professional representation before the RTB will only be awarded in exceptional circumstances and with the consent of the Board of the RTB.
Can the Tribunal’s previous decisions be accessed in order to prepare cases?
Access to the Tribunal’s previous decisions and Determination Orders are available here. Parties should bear in mind that each case will be decided on the facts of the particular dispute but earlier decisions may be useful as an aid to presenting their case.